PH Malditas win LA Viking Cup

By Joseph Pimentel, ABS-CBN News North America Bureau

Posted at Nov 28 2012 04:48 PM | Updated as of Nov 29 2012 05:20 PM

MANILA, Philippines –  (UPDATE) The Philippine national women's football team, better known as the Malditas, won the LA Vikings Cup after defeating the California Cosmos in a penalty shootout at the Santa Ana Stadium Tuesday.

It was the second time that the Malditas were playing against the Cosmos. In their second game of the round robin tournament, the Malditas and the Cosmos battled to a 3-3 draw.

But with the championship on the line, both squads played very competitively, though things changed quickly in the second half.

The Philippine women's football team, known as the Malditas, pose for a picture after winning the 2012 LA Vaking Cup championship in the US. Photo from the Instagram account of Marielle Benitez

Malditas goal-keeper Christiane Cordero misplayed the ball, and the Cosmos capitalized quickly as they scored the game's first goal.

Now playing with a sense of urgency, the Malditas equalized after Marisa Park was fouled inside the box and converted the penalty kick.

With the score tied at 1-1 after 90 minutes, it went down to a penalty shootout. Malditas' Sam Nierras missed her attempt, but Cordero was able to block the Cosmos’ first shot as well.

The teams traded subsequent made shots, until Cordero stepped up again and blocked the Cosmos' final attempt for the championship.

"It's definitely a big sense of accomplishment. You always hope that you're going to make the save, but there's a lot of uncertainties that come with it and when you finally do, it's a good feeling," said Cordero.

"I'm kind of tickled pink, I don't know what to say. I'm overwhelmed right now. This is the start of great things to happen for Filipino football, especially for women's football in the Philippines," said Coach Ernie Nierras.

The Malditas finished the tournament with three wins and one draw, an impressive result for a team that only trained with each other for less than two weeks.

"If we continue to build this up, maybe we can become better. Our goal is to get to the 2015 World Cup, so I think if we can reach it that far, I think it would be great," said midfielder Joelle de Leon.